In relation to all this recent talk about how funny-looking I was as a kid at summer camp, I have to say: at least we were competent athletes. We learned how to play every sport and the big girls looked so pretty sashaying the quarter of a mile from the cabins down to the lake.
Some could dive so clean into the lake they made nary a splash.
Some could high-jump. This is my cousin Mary Lou at the track meet.
We also put in my time learning to use fake sporting equipment like the Bounce-Back here. (I know these campers look less than adept. This was the first time any of us every interacted with a Bounce-Back.)
But we could hit a tennis ball! We could field a baseball and WEAR YOU OUT in volleyball! We knew the J-stroke and so could keep ourselves going where we wanted to go when alone in a canoe.
We had all the Red Cross Waterfront classes so to this day I can do the Tired Swimmers Carry because I took Junior and Senior Lifesaving. To this day I know the order you use in reaching out to help someone who’s in over his head. (Throw Tow Row Go.) The Red Cross Water Safety courses make you memorize definitions, like the definition for panic, which I still remember as “the sudden unreasoning and overwhelming fear in the face of real or imagines danger.” There’s plenty of that in life, all right! And so now I know what to do about panic when I come across it.
Camp was great and so what if we didn’t look like fashion models every second of the camp day. We didn’t even have any mirrors in the cabins except that four-inch kind you hang on a nail. We had other things to think about. We were learning how to lose gracefully and also how to win, and not ‘spike the ball’ when we did win. Sure, when we were older we tried sneaking out of camp some, or smoking cigarettes on the cabin roof when the counselors were at that big meeting, but it was all good.
In sum we spent no time at all in self-consciousness, the theme to which this week has been devoted and that seems a very good thing for a girl. Even an old girl like me probably needs to get outside herself more. I’m heading for The Y right now for the morning swim – see an earlier group below heading for their morning swim (there’s that kid with the crazy hair again!)
… but after that I’m hitting Sports Authority. Do you think they still make the Bounce-Back?